Friday, September 20, 2013

An Open Letter to Bishop Bergoglio: “Repent …”

John Bugay, "first holy communion"
Your correspondent, age 7
Dear Bishop of Rome Bergoglio:

Your most recent interview is getting a lot of press. But if your intentions are truly as honorable as you say they are, there is only one thing that is required.

The time is long past for some pope (you or any other pope) to stop saying “the [Roman Catholic] Church should not be…” You need to say what it is and what it has been.

It is true, that would contradict official Roman Catholic doctrine about “the Church”. But that is the thing that is needed. Stop trying to “reconcile” Vatican I and Vatican II, for example, stop wasting the lives and the talents of the theologians who are engaged in such self-serving exercises, and simply admit that “the official Church – the papacy – has erred in its hubris, in its self-confident (and bombastic) proclamations of its own power and glory.”

You need to say "It has erred in its very definitions of doctrines surrounding the papacy and Mary and the Lord’s Supper. In its historical treatment of the Jews. In that it has fomented wars, that it has persecuted honest Christians, that it has rewarded deceit in many forms, that it has, in fact, been, on a historical scale (aside from or in addition to the things that good Catholics have done) one of the more pernicious and malevolent forces in history.”

The time is long, long past for some pope to stop saying “I [personally] am a sinner…” (as you had done at the beginning of the interview), to stop shifting the blame to “the sins of the children of the Church”.

If your intentions truly are what you say they are, you need to start saying, and quickly, “The Roman Catholic Church has sinned against Christ and his church and humanity” — and then, as is required by your own doctrine of confession, you need to articulate these sins clearly and in fact numerically.

It takes no imagination whatsoever to understand what these sins are.

That alone will be a show of good faith. All the rest of your happy-hopeful statements are mere window dressing and evasion and dissembling.


Someone who was once “a good Catholic”
and who rejects what the Roman Catholic Church really is.


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Ex -- I agree (about 99% certain) but I wanted to put it on the table, as an alternative to some of the treatments to the effect that this Holy Father is a great and humble man etc.

  2. Hi John,
    If only they would admit all that - but then, wouldn't it cause the questioning of the infallibility doctrine? (even though technically, they say it is only about protection from teaching false doctrine only, and they say it does not mean being sinless or impeccable.

    What do you make of this analysis of this same interview of the Pope?

    they seem to think it was some sort of massive shift and change. A Muslim blogger I look at everyday also highlighted this.

    1. Ken -- from the Guardian:

      Pope Francis's interview with a fellow Jesuit journalist is one of the most sensational interviews of my lifetime. It amounts to a wholesale repudiation of the policies and priorities of the last two popes.

      I wouldn't say "wholesale repudiation" but it definitely causes some problems for them. For example, he says "“The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules". Well, the whole history of the Roman religion is based on "small-minded rules". He tries to give himself an out first by calling Ratzinger "a man of God" and speaking of "emphases". But Ratzinger was the enforcer of the "small-minded rules" -- and of course, Bergoglio himself enforced some "small-minded rules" in rescinding the "Liturgical reforms" for the Franciscans.

      Regarding his statement about "desires to establish order in the sense of pure conservation", the Guardian says:

      It is impossible to read this except as a criticism of his predecessor Benedict XVI, who once said the European civilisation reached its height in the 14th century.

      I would agree it's a criticism of conservative Catholicism and of Ratzinger.

      The defeat of the church's conservatives is utterly comprehensive in this interview. All of their favourite causes are taken up and rejected – "It is not necessary to talk about … abortion, gay marriage and [contraception] all the time" says the pope. So much for the "culture of death" that Pope John Paul II thought he saw in those things: "The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently."

      He's equivocating on the word "conservatives" here -- he obviously means the social conservatives who often overlap with the doctrinal conservatives -- but he never makes that distinction. And nor did Ratzinger emphasize "abortion, gay marriage and contraception". That was JPII.

      In any event, it is a very stark difference. But it seems to me that this pope is going to remain "Roman Catholic" and not make any doctrinal changes.

  3. You need to say "It has erred in its very definitions of doctrines surrounding the papacy and Mary and the Lord’s Supper.

    Somehow, I missed this - ok, that for sure would bring down the 1870 Infallibility doctrine, but then, that would destroy the whole claim of it being the one true Church in one fell swoop.

    If they admit a mistake, then they would admit they are not really the true church that is marching to victory forward all through history.

    1. I honestly don't think he'll bring down any doctrines. But that's what I think is needed - to repudiate infallibility. He's a Jesuit, and he knows how to spin his message in just such a way that both sides will take what they want to hear from everything he says.

      Not sure if you are on Facebook, but Robert Gagnon has been doing a very lengthy analysis of this pope's comments. Some have accused him of "universalism", but Gagnon seems to think that, while the pope embraces "universal redemption" (including atheists), he does seem to allow that people can reject it -- and that is the one way that anyone, under his outlook, could lose salvation.

      As far as "the true church", he seems to continue to hold that "the Roman Catholic Church is the Sacrament of Salvation" -- just because the RCC is here on earth, therefore God can dispense his grace to mankind. He doesn't seem to be inclined to change that notion.